It takes ages.
It really does take a long time to take a sculpture from it's initial design to a fully fledged release, more often than not an 18-24 months is a typical lead time so it's awkward to plan and the reason that sculptures are few and far between at Impossimal HQ.
We have over the years released around 23 in total and sculpted more than 200. Most never make it to the production stage however because of manufacturing problems or our collections have moved on in a different direction. One thing that does remain constant is maquettes, the sculptures we model to create certain paintings and we thought it would be interesting to show you the studio shots of some of our 3d creations and those full dioramas that take so long to create.
We read a lot of comments that some artists don't actually have a hand in the creation of sculptures, now I'm not sure how true that is away from Impossimal HQ but we have always played a big part in the creation of each and every sculpture.
In 2005, when we started to explore sculptures we relied on working with other professionals and gradually learning the sculpting processes which was more complex than we realised but by 2007 we had enough skill to start creating our own initial sculpture work at Impossimal HQ. Today, more often than not everything up to the creation of the final modelling is done completely in house although there can be exceptions, especially when you try something new that includes manufacturing and casting processes you're unfamiliar with.
The images to the right show some really early ideas for three sculptures. Created in Plastiline 50, a soft wax based modelling compound they are mounted on a wood base with a spiral sculpture fixing. One downside of sculpting this way is the casting, you are basically casting in one go so you end up with a rather heavy sculpture that needs support during the casting process.
Whizz along to today and the process is much more professional, to the left is an unreleased sculpture from 2021. As you can see it's created in parts as opposed to one solid casting and this allows you to add lots more details than would be possible with the old methods. We wanted to include a glass but it had to be plastic and the resin 'gin' had a tendency to generate too much heat for it to cope with!
The Whatabanker (left) was a cause of major headaches. It was so heavy and we had to work out how to do a lighter hollow cast and avoid the weight bending and twisting Big Ben. It's one of our biggest sculptures to date but also one of the most problematic.
In 2012 we started to incorporate all our sculpture skills in the creation of our paintings by sculpting maquettes and producing scenes that we could use as reference points to improve the realism of our artwork. It proved quite a useful tool even though most were quick models in plasticine such as 'Sugar Rush' (left).
Within another year the scenes had got more complex adding more details in slightly larger scenes. Then we went bonkers and started producing full blown dioramas especially for the Eccentricus Britannicus and Lost Alice collections.
But just how far could we push it? Well, it took three paintings to find that out. The first was Dr Whoohoo (below), a scene that was 1.4m in length, used tissue paper and plaster for the planet surface, balsawood for the tardis and 3lb of plastiline for the figures.
But the biggest, hardest piece to complete was our version of the Beatles Yellow Submarine, a celebration of 50 years since the animation release. This was awesome to create and although not as detailed as some of the previous creations it had a depth of 2m which is not apparent on this photo but allowed us to cast longer shadows than normal. The final painting references 50 Beatles songs and hangs in our dining room, we really couldn't part with it after all the work.
As we created these scenes the potential to expand them grew and we tried creating sets on a much larger scale. Alice (left) falling down the rabbit hole was six feet tall and wired to the roof of the garage.
'Tweedle Do and Tweedle Don't' (below) were placed in a 1m painted cube scene, all were created in clay, hand painted and later sold as individual sculptures.
The second was 'All This Over A Pair Of Shoes', 2m in width, eight 14'' figures and around 100 individual objects with a cloth painted ground and fake backdrops. It was lit using six led spotlights and photographed on a 16:9 letterbox view. The entire scene including figures took three weeks to model, then another few days to place correctly before the final original painting which took five weeks to complete.